The Other Side of Sharks

A few days ago, my morning started out like any other. I woke up, delayed actually getting out of bed for a while, and then when I finally did, read the news. There was one article in particular that stood out to me. It was “nothing new” – in the worst sense.

It was an article about a recent shark attack, where a shark thrashed around in the water for a while, before non-fatally biting a man. I sat on my bed, in my ‘Shark Encounters’ t-shirt that I wore to bed the previous night, and thought about why that article was worth publishing.

Most news sources strive to be informative. But what knowledge are people going to take away from that article? Media, who claim to be unbiased, tell people what they want to hear. They feed into people’s fear of sharks, and they do this because they know people will want to read it.

But there has to come a time when wrong is cited as wrong. It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year  – finned alive and thrown into the ocean to die, products of bycatch (caught accidently when other ocean species are targeted), killed for their skin, or just simply killed.

When is someone going to say that this needs to stop?

People need to know that yes, a shark attack has occurred, but not only do absurd things such as vending machines, beds, and coconuts kill more people per year than sharks (source) but we need sharks.

And even more than we need them, right now, they need us.

Because while we’re busy reading about the Great White Shark that bit a human, THIS is happening. Every hour people spend writing, publishing and reading about how horrible sharks are, 11, 417 sharks are killed. Per hour.

11, 417 humans aren’t being killed per hour by sharks. 11, 417 humans aren’t being killed by sharks every day, or every month, or even at all.

I think that for every shark attack article posted, there should be a counter article, on the same page. People can be afraid of sharks, but understand that they are vital to the the most important ecosystem we have. They can fear the iconic fin rising from the water, but learn and come to understand that killing sharks is destroying the ocean’s food chain.

Sharks can’t speak for themselves, so, more than ever, they need help from humans. Despite the staggering statistics about their deaths, no one seems to be listening. They aren’t able to defend themselves against the articles and videos that make them out to be horrible, vile creatures.

These kinds of media make people think that it is okay for sharks to be senselessly killed, and they cause some people to encourage the death of sharks. Why? Because that is the message we are constantly exposed to.

At our core, I don’t believe that we humans are fundamentally good or bad. We’re just human. And because of this, I truly hope the sheer magnitude of the deaths of what the media makes out to be monsters has resonated with you. We don’t have to sit back idly and let the fate of sharks be determined by the industries that only seem to want our money and attention. We can do something about it.

 

For information on what you can do to save sharks, please click here, here, or here. Thank you.

 

 

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